Review: Marware SportGrip for iPod classic
As much as we like the sound quality, capacity, and battery life of the iPod classic, its iPod 5G-like body style has made it pretty predictable as far as cases are concerned, with the latest releases strongly resembling the ones we've seen for the past two-plus years. Today, we briefly look at four new iPod classic case releases: Incase's Leather Sleeve ($30) and Neoprene Sleeve ($30), Marware's SportGrip ($15), and Noreve's Tradition Leather Case ($40). All four are much like identically named products for other iPod models, and though none is a breakthrough, SportGrip continues to impress in build quality and protectiveness for the dollar.
Marware’s iPod classic-specific SportGrip has a lot in common with the earlier, excellent SportGrip for iPhone. Similarly available in black or clear colors, each made in separate 80GB and 160GB versions tailored to fit the new iPod classic models, SportGrip is a silicone rubber case with separate screen and Click Wheel protectors made from clear film. A cleaning cloth is also included with each case, and like the other cases reviewed today, this one fits in an adapter-less Universal iPod Dock, enabling you to charge and hear your iPod without removing it from the rubber sleeve.
Apart from the fact that we actively like the simple, low-priced and effectively protective design, there’s not a lot to say about SportGrip: it is, in essence, a commodity rubber case done and priced right, unique only in its inclusion of seven thin finger-friendly grip nubs per side, and a tapered, slightly thicker back that helps the iPod classic rest even more comfortably in your hand. As with the iPod nano version, Marware’s included film protectors properly cover the screen and all but the center Action button of the Click Wheel, which is resistant to coverage from any film we’ve seen save Power Support’s Crystal Film. Also exposed are the Hold switch, headphone port, and Dock Connector, which work with standard and oversized accessories we tested.
Just like the iPod touch and iPod nano versions, we’re not going to suggest that SportGrip is an ideally protective case, or that it is beautiful by the highest standards of past silicone cases we’ve seen. In fact, of the highly limited two color choices, the black one does have a tendency to attract dust, making the clear version a lower maintenance but not quite as cool option. But given its low price, typical Marware attention to detail and build quality, and how much of the iPod it does effectively cover, those are the only factors detracting from our highest recommendation. In terms of daily convenience, you would be hard-pressed to find another case this easy to use, protective, and visually neutral at a similar price.